Average Cost of New Vehicle in January: $35,473

Car shoppers bought fewer pickup trucks and luxury models last month, according to Kelley Blue Book.

Inside Car Dealerships Ahead of Motor Vehicle Sales Figures
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The average price of a new vehicle fell $1,283 from December to January, a drop of 3.5 percent, according to a final revised estimate by Kelley Blue Book.

But that doesn't mean a shopper could have saved more than a grand by waiting a month, but rather average prices fell as consumers bought more smaller cars and fewer pickup trucks in January.

"It's just people buy different vehicles," explained KBB analyst Tim Fleming. "December is typically a big truck, SUV and luxury month, so there are always high transaction prices," said Fleming, who offered that year-over-year comparisons paint a more complete picture than month-to-month moves.

Up 1.6 percent, from January 2017, the average transaction price for light vehicles came to $35,473 in January, said Fleming, who noted final revisions had changed preliminary estimates from a press release issued Thursday. 

"We're not going to draw any conclusions for the year from January sales," Fleming said Friday in a phone interview with The Drive

Still, the current year is expected to bring more of the same as 2017, the first down year for sales since 2009, he added. 

"We're watching to see in the wake of falling sales, whether people are going to start paying less, especially with interest rates going up, which is another wrinkle, or are they not going to spend less, but move into used cars, a lot more of which are coming into the market," Fleming said.